There’s no stopping the juggernaut that is Marvels extended universe, with the huge Infinity War looming and the huge successes of Civil War and Spiderman it seems as though Disney and the comic book masters cant put a foot wrong and they just gone and done it again.
Thor Ragnarok now joins Iron Man and Captain America in having his own film trilogy and although the first two instalments weren’t particularly strong, RAGNAROK corrects all that and more.
The issues I felt the first two instalments had were they took a character that was bizarre and unearthly and attempted to ground him in some reality. Thor is a god and unlike Iron man (who is simply a rich fella in a suit), Thor has God like strength, can fly around by spinning his giant hammer and fire lightening bolts from his fingers. The first two were pretty grounded… he dabbled with romance and the stories they told were pretty serious (as serious as superhero movies can be). Thor didn’t suit this and for his third outing the style changes tremendously. Watching them back to back will be incredibly jarring but I believe it was definitely the right decision… Chris Hemsworth’s comedic timing is second to non and the humour in this film makes it stupidly entertaining. It has more similarities to Guardians of the Galaxy than any other Marvel movie and was a refreshing change of pace for the God of Thunders story arc.
The story sees the return of Hela, Goddess of Death (played by Cate Blanchett), which sets us off on a fantasy sc-fi journey that sees plenty of cameos from established Marvel properties, the introduction of a great supporting cast and plenty of Easter eggs for the die hard Marvel fans.
The film splits the action into two main stories, one being the Contest of Champions, ruled over by Grandmaster Jeff Goldblum, and the invasion of Asgard by Hela.
Onscreen, the effects and CGI is predominantly good. There are moments of green screen that I noticed, but the aliens, space battles, locations and action sequences are outstanding. The mixture of bright colours and snyth fuelled electro gave it a fantastic retro 80’s feel. Oh and the use of Led Zepplin’s The Immigrant Song in the closing stages is F*CKING AWESOME
The film is over flowing with fantastic characters and even better performances. Chris Hemsworth, the God of thunder, plays his role flawlessly and proves once again what a great casting decision he was! We see the return of the Hulk in what is to become the start of his very own story arc spread across other characters films (Universal just give the rights back to Marvel will ya… ) and the chemistry between the two is electric. Supporting characters were just as good with the new chap Korg (voiced by the director Taika Waititi) steals some of the biggest laughs of the entire movie… More of this rock fella in the future please!
Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is seriously bonkers and is one of Jeff’s best performances in a lonnnnngggg time. Tom Hiddleston steps into the mischievous Loki boots again and it’s a joy to watch this characters moral compass continue to alter over the course of his Marvel adventures.
One of the biggest surprises for me was Tessa Thompson’s performance. It was incredible from the moment she appeared on screen, stumbling out of her spaceship hammered as a drunken Valkyrie, one of the last of her kind. Her back story is given just as much time as Cate Blanchett’s Hela who was a formidable opponent to the Asgardians and Thor.
Now I’m not going to come down on it with a hammer but there were a few things that disappointed, mainly the lack of climaxes. *possible spoiler here* The gladiator fight between Thor and The Hulk is hugely impressive but just like the cheering alien audience I felt a little robbed at the end of it (be honest… we all want to know who the strongest Avenger is)
I also felt the final battle, as awesome as it was, left a little too much to the imagination at the end. (again I wanted to see Hulk f*ck that doggy up) *end of spoilerish things *
Another issue, and one that is largely unavoidable, is the fact that most of these characters felt indestructible. They could be thrown through space, and walls, and fire, and spaceships, and swords and yet there was no real concern for their well being. A very real lack of perl is something that robbed me of enjoyment in Guardians 2 and it is very apparent here too.
Other than these small gripes Thor: Ragnarok is a hugely entertaining film with huge amounts of energy and laughs. Excellent characters and perfectly balanced cameos and world building. Ragnarok is the child of confident filmmaking and the understanding of what the Thor franchise should have always been. It is the best Thor movie by a wide margin, and is one of the best Marvel sequels released so far. A fine addition to the ever expanding Marvel Universe.
Watch the trailer below and catch ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ in theaters November 3rd.